When you pass through a snow covered valley, wind howling in your ears, the setting sun casting shadows around you, it's easy to get lost in the astonishing beauty of it all. Easy enough to make you forget you're sitting at your desk in a crappy apartment, killing time before you have to leave for your lousy job. It's the immersion that hooks many people to MMOs, and it also gives them a bad name.
My first MMO was Ultima Online. A few of my friends were playing it and I had to join if I ever wanted to see them again. I never really get into it, though. Perhaps I was too young for it, or maybe I didn't see the appeal. It came at a time when the internet was rather new in my house, and although I didn't play long, it left me wanting more.
Technology has played a big part in getting me into MMOs. When the atmosphere in MMOs began looking more realistic, or at least appealing to the eye, I got hooked. Maybe it's a bit shallow of me, but personally, the presentation of a game matters a lot. I like sleek designs, breathtaking locales and high detail. Perhaps it's my love of nature blending with my digital age taste.
Many have demonized MMOs for their addictive qualities. You hear one story of an obsessed husband, playing a game for hours on end, who loses his wife and friends because he would rather play the game. Then you hear a few more stories just like that, and all of a sudden these games are destroying our country. It's just like rap, violent movies, rock & roll, and Elvis' pelvic thrust. It's all out to get you!
The sad thing is, many people who fight what they believe to be an evil doing, rarely give it a chance. So often they make judgments with closed eyes, hands over their ears, while they scream something about burning witches. I can't say there isn't a danger in playing too much of an MMO, too much of anything is unhealthy, but I can say they've given people experiences that wouldn't have been possible without them.
Next time someone gives you slack for bragging about the shiny new gear on your high elf, just laugh it off. They're obviously missing out on some great experiences. Just make sure you turn off the computer now & then so you don't miss out on any adventures yourself.